Waiting on Wednesday: Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we share a book that we are eagerly anticipating!

Publisher: Canongate Books

Author: Matt Haig

Release date: March 5, 2015

Synopsis from Goodreads:

‘I want life.
I want to read it and write it and feel it and live it.
I want, for as much of the time as possible in this blink-of-an-eye existence we have, to feel all that can be felt.
I hate depression. I am scared of it. Terrified, in fact. But at the same time, it has made me who I am. And if – for me – it is the price of feeling life, it’s a price always worth paying’

Reasons to Stay Alive is about making the most of your time on earth. In the western world the suicide rate is highest amongst men under the age of 35. Matt Haig could have added to that statistic when, aged 24, he found himself staring at a cliff-edge about to jump off. This is the story of why he didn’t, how he recovered and learned to live with anxiety and depression. It’s also an upbeat, joyous and very funny exploration of how live better, love better, read better and feel more.

Why I’m excited: Words can’t describe how excited I am for this book. If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know how much I love Matt Haig’s book The Humans. I love it with my entire being. “Reasons to Stay Alive” is a few page chapter from that book. The Humans was Matt’s reaction to his depression at the age I currently am. I honestly don’t know what to type here. I have too many emotions swirling around inside me right now. Let’s just say that I need this book. Note that I didn’t say “want” but rather “need”. I’ll be paying international shipping and everything. I don’t care how much it costs. March can’t come soon enough.

What are you waiting on today?

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Underrated authors and books

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. Today’s theme was:

Top Ten Underrated Authors or Books in X genre.

However, today I’m going to list seven books and three authors that I think are underrated in general, no specific genre. What books or authors do you think are underrated?

Underrated Books: (titles are either linked to Goodreads or my reviews of the books)

The Passage
The Bling Ring
by Nancy Jo Sales

Samuel Blink and the Forbidden Forest by Matt Haig

Rivers by Michael Farris Smith

The Passage by Justin Cronin

John Dies at the End by David Wong

The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence

Catcher, Caught by Sarah Honenberger

Underrated Authors: (linked to Twitter)

Matt Haig (I know I already mentioned one of his books, but I love his work)

Jennifer E. Smith (Okay, not that underrated but I just want her to have more attention)

Ian Rankin (he’s definitely not underrated in the UK, but I need more Americans to read him)

What books or authors do you think are underrated? Link me up to your TTT below if you participated!

Audiobook Review: The Dead Fathers Club by Matt Haig

You guys know how much I love Matt Haig (I mention The Humans like once a week) and last month read and reviewed Samuel Blink and the Forbidden Forest. I’m making my way through all of his books, and I recently decided to try audiobooks. The Dead Fathers Club was my first audiobook, and honestly, I think it might’ve ruined every other audiobook I might try. Ha.The Dead Fathers Club

 

 

Title: The Dead Fathers Club

Author: Matt Haig

Reader: Andrew Dennis

 

 

Why did this audiobook ruin all other audiobooks for me?

  1. It’s got the PERFECT reader. The Dead Fathers Club is set from the perspective of Phillip, an eleven-year-old boy. The reader, Andrew Dennis, was twelve when he read for this book. Andrew’s intonation perfectly captured the wonder, anger, confusion, and grief of Phillip in a way that kept me hooked onto every word.
  2. It’s an update on Hamlet: Phillip’s father was murdered, and when his dad’s ghost appears to him to tell Phillip he’s become a member of “the dead father’s club”, Phillip must avenge his father’s death at the hands of Uncle Alan or he’ll never rest. The book is set in modern-day England with a cast of very interesting characters: Uncle Alan who’s sweet on Phillip’s mom, Uncle Alan’s Bible-bashing business partner and his young daughter, a bunch of bullies, new friends, and some fish.
  3. It’s got a great story: The story itself was so powerful, just like everything Matt Haig does. The story is equally charming and tragic.
  4. It’s genre-bending: You never quite know whether the story is supernatural or a story about how a child’s imagination can create a whole story as a response to the grief surrounding a parent’s death. Is Phillip’s grief about to overcome him and force him into a mental breakdown or are ghosts real? I loved this idea, and I’m glad we never quite know the truth.
  5. It’s different: The writing style is so cool. Okay, I know I listened to the audiobook, but I loved the way it perfectly captured the way young children tell stories; there weren’t breaks really and the story easily flowed from one topic to the next. I decided to look up what the book actually looked like, and it was just as I imagined it. Here’s a sample:

    “I am all too heavy. I dont even feel like I have a body it is like I am the river bank and the mud and I have been the mud for 2000 million years and I can see everything I can see Terry and Leah on the river bank and Terry who is St Johns Ambulance pinching her nose and blowing in her mouth and he stops blowing and he listens to her mouth and looks at Alan sinking under.”

    The whole thing isn’t like this. Some parts have more periods but isn’t this wonderful? I love this section.

  6. It’s got an abrupt ending: This spurred me to yell out in my car, “Are you kidding me? No. No. No. It did not just end like that.” Yes, out loud in my car. 🙂 I actually really liked the ending after I had time to process that the book was over. It allows the reader to interpret what they think happened.
  7. It’s got all the feels: The book is both as fun as you might expect from the description but also really emotional, thought-provoking, and deep. A wonderful book, just as I’ve come to expect from Matt Haig.
    If you’re interested in getting into audiobooks, I would highly recommend starting with this one. It was a great start for me, and, in my opinion, the reader was perfect. As a kid about the same age as the narrator of the book, he was able to perfectly invoke all of the feelings that Phillip had. Loved this one.

Book Review: Samuel Blink and the Forbidden Forest by Matt Haig

Samuel Blink and the Forbidden ForestTitle: Samuel Blink and the Forbidden Forest

Author: Matt Haig

Genre: Middle grade, fantasy

Publisher: Putnam Juvenile

Publication Date: June 2007

Hardback: 316 pages

Stand alone or series: First in a

How did I get this book: Borrowed from the library

Let’s start with a brief synopsis from Goodreads:

Aunt Eda’s Rule #9: NEVER-UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES- GO INTO THE FOREST.

Samuel and Martha have just moved to Norway to live with their aunt Eda, and she’s taking some getting used to. She has too many rules, no TV, and insists that they eat local delicacies like brown cheese and reindeer soup. And then there’s the most peculiar thing about her-her irrational fear of her own backyard. Sure, Uncle Henrik hasn’t been heard from since he disappeared into it ten years ago, but that can’t be the forest’s fault . . . can it?

Samuel is skeptical, until he disobeys Rule #1-Never go up to the attic-and finds an unusual book: The Creatures of Shadow Forest, which gives scary descriptions of the fantastic creatures supposedly living in the forest. So when Sam starts seeing strange things venture past the treeline after dark, he can’t help wondering . . . could Aunt Eda be right, and what really happened to Uncle Henrik?

What I thought:

Chances are if you follow my blog, you are aware that I kind of (hahaha. Kind of. Yeah, right) LOVE Matt Haig’s The Humans. I also quite enjoyed The Radleys. I’ve been trying to find his other books here in the US, but some of them are a little hard to come by. I found Samuel Blink and the Forbidden Forest in our library system and immediately checked it out. Just like the other two, I LOVED it.

Matt Haig’s writing style is, well… magical. It is lyrical, full of life and meaning, and completely enchanting. It’s actually pretty conversational and includes two interruptions for the author (I think young kids would like this as it gives them a break and it also tells them what’s coming so they want to keep reading and get to that part – I mean, it worked on me. Ha). The story is full of fascinating humans and creatures alike. The novel felt like it opened its pages and pulled me into them much like the forest does to those who enter it. It didn’t want to let me go (and, honestly, I didn’t want it to anyway). The characters are fully developed and so well-done (just like in his other two books). I loved Aunt Eda especially. On her character: “Aunt Eda had a slight accent that sounded slightly surprised, as if the words had never expected to be used.” Isn’t that an amazing description?

Of course, one of my favorite things was the humor. Matt Haig has an uncanny ability to make me laugh out loud while I read. I think my favorite funny bit was the family of trolls who share only one eye amongst them. It has some dark humor, which I also quite enjoy.

Also, much like his other books that I’ve read, Samuel Blink and the Forbidden Forest is full of deep feelings. You’d think I’d be used to how much Haig’s books make me feel by now, but I’m not. I always find things I relate to in them in a deep, emotional way that is just wonderful. The story is about Samuel as he goes on a journey to accept the sadness and anger after losing his parents and finding happiness and hope with his new life.

Two favorite quotes:

“Martha Blink, with a universe on every side, to defend herself against all the pain and tears and happiness of the world.” – page 47

“You can find happiness anywhere, son, if you look hard enough.” – page 314

What I want to know is why was the title changed from Shadow Forest (its UK title) to Samuel Blink and the Forbidden Forest (its US title)? Especially since the forest is always called “Shadow Forest” in the book. So dumb.

You can find out more about Matt Haig on Twitter – I always enjoy seeing what he has to say about life and writing and depression and interacting with him.

The bottom line: This is a wonderful story about moving through some of the most difficult things you can experience which also happens to include some amazing, magical creatures (and two interruptions from the author). Read it. 🙂

Rating: 9 – practically perfect

Reading next: Fables by Bill Willingham

 

SUNDAY FUNDAY: WEEK IN REVIEW [8]

The lovely Cristina over at Girl in the Pages started Sunday Funday as a way to recap the bookish (and not-so-bookish) things that have happened that week.

July 14 – 20, 2014

This week I went to see The Neighbourhood with my friend Jugee Georgie in Nashville. I had a super crazy week at work because of it, but I had an amazing time. It was my fourth time seeing them play live, and my third time meeting Jesse, the lead singer. He remembered me and was super wonderful. I had a blast, and it was totally worth the 2.5 hours of sleep I got and the 12 hours of driving in 24 hours.

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My interview with Lori Rader-Day, who wrote The Black Hour (which I LOVED), went up on WatchPlayRead! I loved the opportunity to learn more about her and her writing.

Coming up on the blog this week: Two children’s book reviews (Ox-Cart Man and The Dreamer); four comic book reviews (Saga [volume 2] and The Walking Dead, volumes 1-3); one book review (One Past Midnight) – possibly two; Top Ten Tuesday; Waiting on Wednesday – woah. A LOT coming up on the blog this week. 🙂

Books read: This week I read Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman; Saga [volume 2] by Brian K. Vaughan; Samuel Blink and the Forbidden Forest by Matt Haig; and several children’s books. I also started listening to an audiobook for the first time; I chose The Dead Father’s Club by Matt Haig and I am seriously loving it so far – the narrator is just perfect.

TBR: I had my first ever comic book haul this week! I’ve added all of those to my TBR obviously. I also checked out Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman and the audiobook of A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon from the library. I’m definitely looking forward to both of those.

I have a long (45 minutes or so) commute to each of my jobs so I’ve really enjoyed listening to an audiobook on the way. It makes the drive seem a lot shorter and I get to read/listen to even more books now! I never thought I’d enjoy audiobooks, but I definitely do.

Non-bookish things I’m excited about:

I just found out that Tom Felton is in this new show on TNT called Murder in the First; I’m not sure how I missed this, but all of the first six episodes are on Comcast’s On Demand, so I know what I’ll be catching up on this week.

Teen Wolf. Always.

What happened to you guys this week? Did you read any good books? Tell me about your week in the comments!

SUNDAY FUNDAY: WEEK IN REVIEW [2]

SUNDAY FUNDAY: WEEK IN REVIEW

Cristina over at Girl in the Pages started Sunday Funday as a way to recap the bookish (and not-so-bookish) things that have happened that week. I thought it’d be a really fun way to keep you guys up to date on what I’ve been reading, reviewing, and wanting to read but also to tell you a little bit more about myself outside of my book love. I think I’ll tailor the post each week to what I’ve done but I will always try to include a book haul and a new book or two that I’ve added to my want-to-read list. J

June 2 – 8, 2014

Books read: I finished reading The Chance You Won’t Return by Annie Cardi and read all of Paradigm by Ceri A. Lowe (both titles linked to my reviews). I had things I didn’t like about each, but I ended up enjoying both: I gave them each a 7 (pretty good) rating. Paradigm took me longer to read than I expected, but it turns out that the paperback version will be over a thousand pages! No wonder it took me four days. Ha.

TBR: I have an e-ARC of The Revealed by Jessica Hickam to read this week, as well as Second Chance Summer checked out from the library, due on the 14th. I’m looking forward to both of them, but especially Second Chance Summer.

I also added several novels to my TBR list on Goodreads, so head over to my profile to check them out. You know, if you want. Also!!! I received a sample of Isla and the Happily Ever After from NetGalley, and I AM DYING TO READ IT. Probably going to fly through it after I post this. I’m so looking forward to that book!

Non-bookish things:

Well, it’s actually somewhat bookish, but I saw the movie adaptation of The Fault in Our Stars yesterday with my mom and friend. Oh my goodness. Yes. So good. Please go see it. It’s beautiful, emotional, powerful, and everything I had hoped for. I didn’t review it, but you can read my little post about the book in which I ended by imploring you see the movie, “For me, for you, for Hazel Grace and Augustus Waters.” Note: remember to bring tissues.

Also, my mom’s birthday was yesterday. She got this adorable new bird, a parrotlet, as her present. She’s named her Roxanne. 🙂

Roxanne

Other than these few things, my week was pretty boring. Job applications, babysitting, life.

Non-bookish things I’m excited about:

Again, it’s pretty bookish, but my dad finally read Matt Haig’s The Humans, which I’d been trying to get him to do for about a year (I had the book with me in Scotland, so it’s understandable he didn’t read it for a while). He loved it just as I hoped he would, and he actually cried (at the same parts as me, too). He said the book was beautiful and fantastic. I don’t know if you’ve ever convinced someone you love to read a book that you love just with your love for it (lots of love for The Humans) and that you are hoping will appreciate it like you do, but the fact that my dad adored this book as much as I did makes me seriously happy. Now to convince my mom to read it.

There is a seriously beautiful and amazing woman on So You Think You Can Dance this season who has alopecia like me. I was watching the episode and she came on and I pretty much fangirled immediately. She is a freaking awesome dancer and I hope she makes it far. We don’t know each other or anything, but it’s like I had an immediate connection with her and I am proud of her. Check out her audition.

I bought this seriously awesome shirt this week from woot.com. I mean, Tinker Bell AND Doctor Who?! Um, yes, please.

Last Sunday I mentioned that I would probably be getting a couple of tattoos this week. It didn’t happen yet, but I’m hoping to do it soon. I’ll post pictures when I do.

So how about you? What bookish or non-bookish things happened to you this week? What are you excited about?